Car brands offer customers an array of individualization options which can tally rare colour combinations, styling upgrades or interior trim choices.
Wheels are the most popular aftermarket automotive accessory and one relatively simple swap that will alter the appearance of any car. For those seeking instant individualization, an aftermarket set of alloy wheels are tempting. If you do wish for your car to roll on aftermarket alloy rims, always keep the original wheels it came with – as those contribute greatly to its value when the time comes to resell.
2. Exterior styling modifications
Beyond wheels, exterior styling modifications are a popular folly. Rear spoilers and front splitters are both a very bad idea. Automotive aerodynamics is a hugely complicated endeavour and millimetre sensitive. Engineers spend thousands of hours in wind tunnels to ensure your car runs both stable and efficiently at speed.
If you add a front splitter under the bumper or a rear wing, which classifies outside the engineering specification your car was designed for, there are a multitude of unintended consequences. Your fuel consumption could increase and the aerodynamic balance of your car will in all likelihood suffer too. In a crash these styling modifications can detach and become lethal debris. Best ignore the temptation to fit them.
Lighting technology has surged in the past decade, driven by the LED revolution. You might want to swap out your car’s standard bulbs for set of high-intensity LEDs, but that might generate immense reflection issues. The appeal of an LED bulb is that it generate an impressive intensity of light, with relatively low drawn on your car’s electric system. But if LEDs are mounted in a headlamp housing not designed to accommodate the intensity of their beam, you could actually suffer worse illumination driving at night.
4. No to bucket seats
Modern cars have very good infotainment systems and cabin architecture. Seats are ergonomically designed to be comfortable and support you during an unforeseen collision. Never fit semi-bucket racing seats to your car as they are not designed to work with the surrounding interior crash absorption structure.
5. Sound systems and rewiring
The most important thing for most car buyers is to ensure that their Smartphone syncs seamlessly with the vehicle’s infotainment and Bluetooth system. You might desire a wilder sound system but cutting into the cabin trim to fit larger speakers is foolish. The rewiring required to run a more powerful sound system could also compromise the sensitive electronic balance present in your car – and that can become a very expensive and difficult to diagnose fix.
6. Leave the engine alone
Despite the desire for more power and performance, never allow a digital upgrade of your engine’s computer unit. The data parameters manufacturers calibrate for your engine are crucial in safeguarding against overheating and ensuring constant performance and safety over time.
Any modification of your car’s engine control unit, which is very easy to achieve with a laptop and software, could result in massive warrantee issues and mechanical failure. Or even worse: fire risk.
7. The exhaust system
The same logic applies to an exhaust system. Engineers test a variety of shapes and sizes of exhaust to find the best balance between sound deadening and gas-flow. An aftermarket system optimised for a specific sound signature is not going to help you retain value when it comes to selling.
And the most important thing never to do to your car, if you want to sell it or a decent price? The badge. Never debadge. Or lose your car’s badge. If it does get stolen, always replace it. Nothing is more off-putting to potential a buyer than an ‘orphaned’ or ‘unnamed’car.
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